Internet has changed the way people work. With the massive growth of cloud services — online collaboration tools in particular — people can now work remotely from home or coffee shop.
By maximizing online collaboration tools you can hire talented people in their field to join on your project, no matter where they are come from. The problem is, there are so, so many tools that we can use, in which can lead us to become a bit confuse deciding the best ones.
Don’t worry, I am going to narrow the lists so you don’t have to waste your times surfing the web. No matter your discipline or what kind of project you are running, here are the online collaboration tools that you can consider.
Slack is one of the leading online collaboration tools. In fact, this tool was developed as an internal collaboration tool for its company for finishing a project. The best part of being a Slack user that you can integrate your resources from other services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, GitHub, Box and tens more. Apart from web, you can also use Slack in desktop and smartphone. All platforms are supported by Slack including Windows, Mac, Linux and Android.
Slack offers a free plan. But if you want to get more, there is no bad to register the paid plan. With Slack, you can communicate in real-time with your team. It’s such a perfect tool for anyone managing a team of remote employees.
2. Google Drive
If you think that Google Drive is nothing but just a cloud storage service, you are completely wrong. Google has been working to develop its beloved cloud storage to become a versatile tool for creative people to work collaboratively with their team. You can add your colleague to join in a specific folder or file in order to let them get involved.
Google Drive is integrated to Google Docs, a Google’s office suite consisting of Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms and Drawing. By maximizing Google Docs you will save your money on office suite. Its flexibility is other aspect to consider.
If you are working on a project with some people, you can put any related files on Dropbox to be accessed by your team. You can also give permission for them to edit the files if it’s needed. No, you don’t need to give your account. You can use Dropbox’s Paper to create a collaboration folder. Similar to Google Drive, Dropbox can also be integrated to office suite. Dropbox partnered with Microsoft to enable you editing your documents stored in Dropbox with Microsoft Office Online.
Another service that lets you have an online backup of your files. Furthermore, you can also use Box for managing your project and share your works with others easily. Some features offered by Box include document management, project management, file sharing, virtual data room and many more. You can also integrate your Box with other service including Slack to get the more out of them.
This service is designed specifically for anyone working on mobile app or web-based app. You can use InVision to turn your design into an active prototype complete with gestures, transitions and animations. Interestingly, you can collaborate with your clients to let them leaving feedback on your design you are working. This will minimize complaint of your clients once your work has finished.
Trello is a great app for managing your project. You can organize your project with this tool and let your team members accessing the same file to keep them up to date to the progress of the project. With Trello, you can do a lot of things such as creating checklists, documents, images or attaching files. You can also integrate Trello with other service including Google Drive, Slack, GitHub and Evernote. The best part is, you can use this tool free. At least until now Trello is completely free to use.
7. Red Pen
If you are a freelance designer, this tool would be helpful for you. As a freelancer, you can’t actually work alone. You keep need someone else’s help. Just a constructive critic, for instance. Red Pen helps you to put your design into a dashboard. To get the constructive feedback you can invite your fellow designers or those who have a capability in design to give their comments. You can access their thought in a real-time.
The main goal of Mural is to help you collecting and organizing ideas. This is a great to brainstorm. You can let anyone to join and edit the ideas. All changes will be reflected on the board in a realt-time. If you have a Microsoft Surface Hub device, you can also install Mural on it to enable you demonstrate your ideas in a wider screen in a meeting.
Similar to Red Pen, the main idea of GoVisually is to help designers collaborating with their clients to revise the projects online without sending painful e-mails each others. If the clients have some thoughts over the design, they can point a specific part and annotate it. One of a good parts of this tool is, when there are some users accessing the same page, GoVisually will apply layers for each user. Clicking on each user hides or displays relevat content, which is particularly useful when collaborating with different departments.
IdeaFlip is a simple but useful service to let you collaborate with your team in a project. As seen on the front page of its site, IdeaFlip makes it easy for your team to turn thoughts into ideas quickly. You can also share and refine the ideas with your teammates, even if they are physically not sitting near you.
With this service you can upload PDFs, images or CSV files to build a picture of what you are working on in an organic, freeform way. You can also create your own templates to use with your team.
Online whiteboard and collaboration. The Scribblar‘s tagline seems like is enough to tell you what kind of collaboration you can do with this service. While it’s a simple tool, there is no bad to try it out since it’s available for free. Creative brainstorming and artwork revision can be collaborated in the room you create.
If you need a versatile tool to collaborate and manage your project, you can turn to this one. Binfire is designed to help both traditional and virtual teams to collaborate to bring new products and services to the market in the shortest time possible. Binfire’s advanced technologies create a virtual office environment that makes your team more productive by providing the tools you need in the environment most conducive to collaborative work.
Some of Binfire features include workspace management, personal dashboard, workspace calendar, project dashboard, workspace resource loading and a lot more. You can also integrate your project with Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Dropbox.
And old player. Basecamp has been existing since 2004. According to a statistic on its site, the online collaboration tool has had more than 2.5 millions registered members today. Basecamp features a whole suite of collaborative tools such as to-do lists, wiki-style documents, file sharing and a lot more. You can try this service for free for 60 days before deciding to continuously use it or turn to another ones.
As its name, ConceptBoard is a great tool for discussing a concept of your next project. Once the project is running, you can manage and monitor its progress. When concepting your next project, you will have a centered virtual board where you and your teammates can access at the same time from the different location. You will also have a real-time chat to discus the concept. ConceptBoard can also be integrated with other services including Trello, Google Drive and Dropbox.
There are a lot of features offered by ProofHub to help you work collaboratively with your team. The features offered by this tool include task management, time tracking, Gantt chart, report, calendar and more. Before deciding to use this tool as your main project management you are allowed to try the service for 30 days for free. ProofHub is fully web-based. At least until now the service hasn’t offered any client app.
Well-known as a note-taking app, Evernote is also convenient service to be used as a collaboration tool. For instance, you can use this tool as a simple management project tool by creating a checklist of the things to do with your team. You can also share your notes, bookmarks, images, web clips and a lot more. Evernote is a freemium app. You are allowed to use this service for free but with limited access. To make it simpler in accessing your notes, Evernote offers client app for Windows, Mac, iOS devices, Android and Chrome OS.
17. Google Keep
Similar to Evernote, Google Keep is also well-known as a note-taking app. But, with a bit creativity you can also use this simple tool to collaborate with your colleagues. We have covered how to use Google Keep as a simple project management tool for a web project. Just take a look to get some insight.
18. Concept inbox
There are three key features offered by Concept inbox: Feedback and Annotation, Prototyping and Real-time Collaboration. The features allow you to collaborate with your team and clients. The first feature is great to get instant feedback from your clients while the second one is brilliant to show them how the project would work. The third one is better to use with your team in developing the project.
Concept inbox can also be integrated with other services mentioned in this list including Basecamp, Slack, Trello, Google, Dropbox and a lot more.
If you work as a designer, Cage is a must-try service. This service has been designed specifically for every designer out there for collaborating each other. You can upload the image file of your work to be discussed with your fellow designers to get the best feedback. With Cage, you can also add tasks, approve files, and even have a more engaging experience by using web-based presentations.
Security is something really be noticed by Tresorit. According to a brief information from its site, there are more than 1.000 hackers tried to hijack Tresorit but they get nothing. Tresorit it self focuses on cloud storage service. Additionally, you can also access, edit, and upload any files through Tresorit and also create group folders to collaborate. Tresorit also offers client app for major platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Windows Phone and even Blackberry.
LinkedIn is not the first professional social media that’s be bought by the giant Microsoft. Back in 2012, the the company behind Windows bought a professional social media service Yammer. This service lets you to communicate and collaborate privately with your colleagues. Employees sign in with a company email address and can use the platform via web, desktop or mobile to chat openly or privately, and share documents; you can even like somebody’s status if you so wish.
Since it’s owned by Microsoft, you can also integrate Yammer with other services from Microsoft including Office. You can also access Yammer from mobile devices including Android, iPhone, iPad and of course, Windows Phone-based smartphone.